Why do you have to activate Sustainion membranes?

Sustainion anion exchange membranes from Dioxide Materials are typically supplied in a dry, chloride form supported on a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) liner. They consequently have to be converted to the hydroxide form by exposing them to a strong base. It is recommended that the membrane be soaked in a large bath of 1M KOH for 24–48 hours in order to convert the membrane chloride form into the hydroxide form. This activation also helps in strengthening the membrane via crosslinking with KOH, as identifed in a nuclear magnetic spectroscopy (NMR) study (Pellerite et al., 2017). Furthermore, during this process the membrane swells and separates from the PET liner, which is discarded.

Sustainion Membranes are used in both CO2 and water electrolysis. It is important to note that the measured normalized area specific resistance (ASR) for Sustanion R 37–50 at the same alkaline conditions is more than an order lower than the other commercially available membranes. The anion exchange membrane has shown excellent performance ability in multiple cell runs of 1,000–3,000 h and more of run time in electrochemical cell testing in a wide pH range as exemplified in published experimental carbon dioxide and alkaline water electrolyzer data (Masel et al., 2016b; Kutz et al., 2017; Liu et al., 2017a,b; Sajjad et al., 2017).

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